Karl Urban was the headliner last weekend at Trekonderoga, the annual Star Trek con put on by Star Trek: The Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga, New York. While there, he weighed in on the Star Trek 4 salary dispute with Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth, and gave some info on the status of the movie as well as talking more about the three Trek films he has done, and how his Dr. Leonard McCoy was influenced by the original actor, DeForest Kelley.
Waiting on Star Trek 4 negotiations, reveals film to shoot in U.K.
Early on in his time on stage at Trekonderoga, Karl Urban talked about how excited he was as a fan about what is happening with Star Trek, and that he can’t wait to see the new Picard Star Trek show CBS is developing with Patrick Stewart. He then volunteered some thoughts about what is next for the Kelvin movies crew:
Hopefully, we get back for another movie, or two of them. We are just sort of waiting on negotiations. I’m confident we will.
During the panel Q&A, TrekMovie followed up on Urban’s comment, asking him for details on the status of the film. The actor provided some new information, including revealing where the film is set to be shot:
The status is they have a script and brought on a director, S.J. Clarkson. I have not had the pleasure [to meet her] yet, but others have. I just haven’t been in the vicinity. They plan to shoot in the U.K., which is where she’s based. J.J. is also over there shooting that other space franchise. At the moment. I believe the status of the project is really hinging on the availability and the contract negotiations of the two Chrises.
This would be the first Star Trek film to be produced in the U.K. The first two Kelvin films were filmed in Los Angeles, with Star Trek Beyond filmed in Vancouver, Canada. Urban didn’t say which studio, but it is possible it could be Pinewood, which is where all the Disney Star Wars films have been produced, including the newest film in “that other space franchise” Star Wars: Episode IX, which is being directed by Star Trek 4 producer J.J. Abrams.
Urban’s note on actor availability is also well taken. The cast lined up for Star Trek 4 are all in high demand, each with ongoing projects and more being added all the time. In fact, just yesterday it was announced Chris Hemsworth has signed on for a Russo brothers thriller, which will be shot in India and Indonesia from November this year through to March 2019. Last month after meeting with director S.J. Clarkson (before the Chris salary dispute made the news), Simon Pegg estimated that Star Trek 4 would go into production in early 2019.
Urban says Kelvin cast wants to make Star Trek 4, including Chris Pine
At Trekonderogo, Urban also went into some more details on the Star Trek 4 salary dispute, expressing confidence that things will be resolved:
It’s an interesting one. The last film did pretty well. I think it made about 320 or 350 or 380 globally [Editor’s note: actual Star Trek Beyond global box office: $343 million] But still, for a movie that cost what it cost to make, the profit margins aren’t that great and so particularly Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine subsequently have done big movies, and their quotes have gone up and so I am pretty confident though that Paramount and those guys, they will figure it out. Because I know Chris. We were all in touch recently and everybody wants to do it and make it happen. So, if Paramount is willing there will be a way to make it happen. So, fingers crossed.
Looking for a good story with Star Trek 4
The thing that seemed to concern Urban more than salary negotiations was what kind of story Star Trek 4 will tell, saying:
I just want to be sure if we do another one that it is good. I was pretty happy with Beyond, after the first two, and just want to make sure we push the envelope and develop these characters and take it somewhere new. That would be my biggest concern. What’s the story. Is it a story worth telling?
This is not the first time Urban has spoken out in this area. Last year at Star Trek Las Vegas, the actor revealed he almost didn’t return for Star Trek Beyond over concerns that the character of McCoy was not developed enough in the second Kelvin film, Star Trek Into Darkness. And at a convention in September last year, Urban said that he would like to see Star Trek 4 explore McCoy’s family.
Fond memories of Beyond
In response to a question about what was his strongest memory making three Star Trek features, Urban pointed to how the cast bonded making Star Trek Beyond:
The last movie we made [Star Trek Beyond] was really special, because we made that in Vancouver and the other two were made in Los Angeles and the great thing was everybody was Los Angeles-based, Chris [Pine] and Zach [Quinto] and Anton [Yelchin]. So, when we were shooting in Los Angeles everyone would socialize with their friends. So, we didn’t hang out that much off-set. But when we were in Vancouver we didn’t know anyone else, so we would hang out with each other and just had a blast. We really kind grew tight, as a group, in a way we hadn’t before. We have only made three films compared to casts out there that made a lot more, but we actually feel like a tight-knit unit and family.
Making Bones feel (and sound) Bones-y
The actor also reflected on his time playing Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in three Star Trek films, including discussing how he approached honoring the original actor:
Taking on the character of McCoy was a daunting challenge because unlike some of my colleagues who hadn’t really watched [The Original Series], I was aware of it and I liked the TV show and was definitely aware of the special legacy and contribution of DeForest Kelley, who I have massive respect for. So, for me, sometimes I felt the pressure to get it right. The challenge was not to do an imitation but at the same time I felt like if I was in the audience I would want to see some semblance of recognizability with the character. I would have felt jipped if I had gone in there and it was nothing Bones-y about Bones. For me it was about identifying the core what DeForest Kelley was doing and that sense of spirit and trying a younger version in an alternate timeline.
Later Urban spoke specifically about how he worked with a dialect coach on finding McCoy’s voice:
For the first couple of [Star Trek] movies I worked with a dialect coach extensively. We looked at DeForest Kelley and that Georgian accent and he sort of toned it down a little bit when he came to Los Angeles to work. You can really hear it when his character Bones got angry. So, we studied that. For me it was about a feel, more than anything. It was tonal and it was feeling. There was irascibility, there was also compassion in the voice and I like to work from that rather than from the outside and try to mimic.
More to come from Trekonderoga
We will have more from Karl’s time at Trekondergo, including what he had to say about Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek project.
Also, check out our earlier report with comments to the press from Gates McFadden, where she talks about her time on TNG and the upcoming Star Trek series with Patrick Stewart as Picard.
Keep up with all the news on the upcoming Star Trek movies at TrekMovie.com.